Witney Belliston after she signed her national letter of intent. | Brittni Johnson, EastIdahoNews.com
IDAHO FALLS — Thunder Ridge High School has only been around for two years, but one student-athlete has already made school history.
On Thursday, a ceremony was held for Witney Belliston who became the first Titan softball player to sign a letter of intent to continue playing softball in college. She will attend North Idaho College in Coeur d’ Alene, a school that’s won the last two Northwest Athletic Conference Championships.
“This celebration is not just for me, but for all the people in my life who have helped me get to this point,” Belliston said.
The centerfielder spent her freshman and sophomore seasons playing at Bonneville High School. Both years they went to the 5A state tournament.
The decision to leave Bonneville and attend Thunder Ridge wasn’t an easy choice, but Belliston believed it was a “risk” worth taking.
“I felt like a new environment would be good for me and provide new opportunities,” Belliston said. “I prayed about it and I just felt like that was what I should do.”
Witney Belliston with her parents Brady and Sasha Belliston as well as Thunder Ridge Softball Head Coach Brendon Kopp. | Brittni Johnson, EastIdahoNews.com
Belliston shined during the Titans’ inaugural season. She batted .376 and had a .430 on-base percentage. She had 32 hits and led the team with 34 runs. Along with smashing two homers, she tallied one triple, 10 doubles, 19 singles and nine walks.
She was named to the 2019 Post Register All-Area First Team, 2019 5A/4A District 6 All-Region First Team and 2019 5A District 5-6 All-Conference First Team.
“(I’ve learned) so much here,” Belliston said. “I’ve learned how to work with other people, to have a good attitude and be grateful for where you are.”
Not only did her parents express how proud they are of her, but Thunder Ridge Softball Head Coach Brendon Kopp praised her as well. He said he dreams of these moments as a coach. He thanked her for what she’s done for the program.
“Witney is probably one of the fastest kids in the state,” Kopp said. “She is that kid that wants to be at the next base … and that is a huge part of her recruiting process. She’s wheels.”
Belliston said on her recruiting visit it was clear to her that those on the North Idaho College softball team put their full effort into time spent in the classroom, weight room and on the field. That’s something she is looking forward to being part of.
“I want to go to a place where they will push me hard to be the best that I can be and where I can be a part of a winning team,” Belliston said. “I feel like this is the right fit for me to be a student-athlete.”
Witney Belliston with her family. | Brittni Johnson, EastIdahoNews.com
Witney Belliston signing her national letter of intent. | Brittni Johnson, EastIdahoNews.com
Witney Belliston batting during a game. | Courtesy Brendon Kopp